If we’ve learned anything in the EV world, it’s that low drag coefficients usually mean really, really ugly design characteristics. For some reason, the idea of low drag (think Prius, one of the ugliest production cars in modern times) doesn’t jibe with great looks. On the other hand, both can be screwed up – witness the ultra-ugly modern VW Beetle, which manages to have a crap coefficient and lame looks.
Well, the Japanese are not afraid to build stupid-looking cars. They’ve done it before (again, Prius) and they’re doing it now. This time, it’s called the Sim-Lei. It’s what happens when engineering nerds from Keio University get together and design a low-drag car with electric trimmings and an unlimited budget.
The car is really, really skinny. Those worried about win resistance like to do this to cars in order to shorten their front-facing profile. None of these engineers live in Wyoming where most roads go East-West and wind blows North-South. I’m waiting form someone to design a car shaped like a triangle as a better alternative..
I digress. Not unusual, of course. So back to the Sim-Lei.
It’s skinny. The engineers came up with ways to keep it that way by figuring out how to beef up the doors without making them thicker and by nearly elmininating rear-view mirrors and putting cameras on. A gigantic screen at the center of the console – a screen larger than some home television sets at 19″ – displays the rear view camera, which has a resolution good enough to both see where you’re going in reverse or film embarrassing videos of your buddies at the game’s tailgate party..
The Sim-Lei can supposedly go 190 miles on a charge with a massive top speed of 60mph using its 24.5kWh battery pack.
Now here’s the real kicker. The car was made by the university as a joint project with several manufacturers. Guess what? It’s going to come to market in 2013. Only a year away from eye-busting suckiness! W00t!